High Blood Pressure Triples Likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes

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By: Linda von Wartburg

Researchers recently followed 38,000 healthy women for ten years to learn if their initial blood pressure influenced whether they developed type 2 diabetes later.

The women were divided into four groups at the outset: those with optimal blood pressure (less than 120/75), those with normal blood pressure, those with high normal blood pressure, and those with high blood pressure (at least 140/90). By the end of the study, 1.4 percent, 2.9 percent, 5.7 percent, and 9.4 percent, respectively, of each group had developed type 2, for a total of 1672 women.

After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that if you have high blood pressure, you’re three times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with optimal blood pressure.

The researchers also found that women whose blood pressure rose during the study had an increased risk of developing diabetes. Women who progressed to outright high blood pressure during the ten-year period had a 64 percent increased risk of diabetes.

The researchers hypothesized that endothelial (blood vessel lining) cell dysfunction may lead to both high blood pressure and poor blood glucose control, especially given that the two conditions occur together as part of the metabolic syndrome and precede diabetes.

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Sources: EurekAlert; European Heart Journal, October 2007

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